Jesus is portrayed in the Gospel as a new and greater Moses.
Moses, the meekest man on earth (see Numbers 12:3), was God’s friend (see Exodus 34:12,17). Only he knew God “face to face” (see Deuteronomy 34:10). And Moses gave Israel the yoke of the law, through which God first revealed himself and how we are to live (see Jeremiah 2:20; 5:5).
Jesus too is meek and humble. But he is more than God’s friend. He is the Son who alone knows the Father. He is more also than a lawgiver, presenting himself today as the yoke of a new law, and as the revealed Wisdom of God.
As Wisdom, Jesus was present before creation as the firstborn of God, the Father and Lord of heaven and earth (see Proverbs 8:22; Wisdom 9:9). And he gives knowledge of the holy things of the kingdom of God (see Wisdom 10:10).
In the gracious will of the Father, Jesus reveals these things only to the “childlike” — those who humble themselves before him as little children (see Sirach 2:17). These alone can recognize and receive Jesus as the just savior and meek king promised to daughter Zion, Israel, in the first reading.
We, too, are called to childlike faith in the Father’s goodness, as sons and daughters of the new kingdom, the Church.
We are to live by the Spirit we received in baptism (see Galatians 5:16), putting to death our old ways of thinking and acting, as Paul exhorts in the epistle. Our “yoke” is to be his new law of love (see John 13:34), by which we enter into the “rest” of his kingdom.
As we sing in the psalm, we joyously await the day when we will praise his name forever in the kingdom that lasts for all ages. This is the Sabbath rest promised by Jesus — first anticipated by Moses (see Exodus 20:8-11), but which still awaits the people of God (see Hebrews 4:9).
Scott Hahn is founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, stpaulcenter.com.